It’s getting to be about that time now for you to think about specific ways you will pay for your college education. For you high school seniors, and maybe juniors: mom and dad may not be able to pay for all of it. Times are tough. Ask them and figure out exactly where you stand with them helping you.

How much can you and your family afford to pay for college?

Your next step then would be to look into all federal ways and grants that are available to you to assist you in paying for your education as well. Those of you adults looking for alternative ways to pay for YOUR education, this still fits you. I posted several articles at TheCareerCloset regarding federal financing. A couple of them can help you to quickly understand the process. One my past articles addresses a recap of financial aid that addresses the main issues you should be aware of in order to get the most from your Student Aid Report.

Another very important step is to consider all the scholarships that you might be even slightly eligible for. Don’t think that just because you have a 2.0 GPA that you are not eligible. It’s true that the higher your GPA the more opportunities you have in winning scholarship money for school. But there are millions and millions of dollars in scholarships offered to students based on things other than the GPA. There are at least 15 different posts that you can access to find the latest and greatest on scholarships, scholarship search sites and even the wacky ones.

So, here’s some tips and tricks you need in order to make the most of your scholarship search and application process. Follow these steps and I can assure you will have success.

WHO is eligible and offers scholarships?

-You are! Anyone is eligible, but always check specific requirements on each scholarship application

-Ask guidance counselors, teachers, coaches, mentors, etc. for suggestions about applying for scholarships and where you can find them

-Do not be intimidated by GPA or SAT scores.  There ARE scholarships that do not depend on these scores (although it is recommended to maintain excellence in these areas). Honestly though…the better you do on these types of tests, the more opportunities you have.

-Various scholarships available through athletics, academics, extra-curricular and employment

WHY should I apply?

•The cost of college goes beyond just tuition

•Get rewarded for your contributions, skills or talents

-You will NOT receive scholarships unless you research and apply!

-Be PROACTIVE. There is a lot of money to be awarded


WHERE are the scholarships?

•Employer’s, parents work, church, community organizations, school you are attending

-Company/organization’s and websites that you know about
-Check websites that are devoted to providing a database of scholarships available for reward

-Research athletic, academic, extra-curricular, employment and even some goofy ones!

WHAT do I need to do to be ready and apply?

-Apply, apply, apply! You have nothing to lose

–Answer all questions required

-Collect at least 3 letters of recommendation

–Describe your character, work ethic, and career goals

–Attach any required documentation

Write an essay that makes a strong impression and brag about yourself
-Review everything, errors can be overlooked

WHEN do I apply?

-Begin your search early and throughout the year.

–Deadlines come up quickly…do not procrastinate

-Impose your own deadline at least two weeks in advance

-Use the buffer time to make sure everything is ready on time

–*Watch for “postmark” and “mail by” dates

-Put your name (SSN #, if applicable) on all pages of the application

Some extra tips for you…

The most important thing to keep in mind when applying for scholarships is that neatness is important so proofread many times; stating extracurricular and academic performance is crucial in evaluating the well-rounded person you are and make copies of your application and attachments to keep filed

-In a scholarship application, being personal and specific is not more important than making a strong impression. Making a strong impression is the result of being personal and specific

Some scholarships that have fees such as “application,” “disbursement,” “redemption” and “processing” are NOT legitimate. Legitimate scholarships never require fees

A lot of times there are scammers that will offer “national” or “educational” scholarships. The U.S. Department of Education does not endorse private business scholarships.

As I collect new ideas and tips, I’ll add them to an article, but for those of you that have ideas or tips to share, please do!

Your Success is my Success,

Keith Lipke

Tweet me or friend me on FB!

Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at The Career Closet. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.